NEW YORK - Turner Classic Movies spent eight years "trying to scream a little louder than the other guy in the classic-movie genre," says Tom Karsch, general manager of the cable channel.
****Now that "the other guy" — AMC — has opted out of the arena, TCM is marking its 10th anniversary Wednesday as the go-to outlet for such films.
****"Turner Classic Movies is a movie lover's paradise, an unending film festival," the New York Times reports.
****Kevin Brownlow, an authority on the silent-film era and director of TCM's recent highly praised documentary "Cecil B. DeMille: American Epic," says: "The value of the channel is to show the incredible past of the American cinema. ... To be able to put on a television set and see superb quality prints of pictures going back 60, 70 years is a most amazing privilege."
****His one complaint: "I always think they could show a lot more silent films, but that happens to be my passion in life."
****The vociferous criticism about colorization of black-and-white films once associated with the Turner name — an abomination to purists — seems a long-ago memory.
****Turner stations, including TNT and TBS, keep the colorized versions on the shelf — though founder Ted Turner told Mr. Karsch that he remains a fan.
****"What I find interesting is the fact that Ted says he would still, given the choice, watch 'Casablanca' in color versus black and white. And I just looked at him and said, 'I just don't get that,'*" Mr. Karsch says, laughing.
****TCM owns 3,500 old movies, a collection that includes the pre-1948 Warner Bros. library, pre-1986 MGM films and the complete RKO collection. Recently, it bought 89 Universal movies, including "Coal Miner's Daughter" and "Out of Africa," and 57 from Columbia, "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and "From Here to Eternity" among them.
****Most other basic-cable networks show commercials, including the revamped American Movie Classics, which is seeking a broader audience.
****TCM, however, remains commercial-free, relying on license fees from cable operators — estimated at $155.5 million this year, up from $138.4 million in 2003. TCM has 68 million U.S. subscribers and expects to surpass 70 million in the next few months.